Scholastic's ( SCHL) third-quarter loss widened sharply due to higher promotional spending, and the publisher lowered its full-year guidance. Scholastic lost $15.5 million, or 37 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with $800,000, or 2 cents a share, a year ago. Third-quarter sales rose 1% to $487.7 million. On average, analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were forecasting a loss of 7 cents a share on sales of $502.8 million in the most recent quarter. "Promotion expenses in School Book Clubs continued to be higher, due to the volume of direct mailings required as more customers than anticipated migrated to the core clubs in response to promotions," the company said, adding that staffing expenses rose in its school book fairs division. Results in educational publishing were hurt by lower educational technology revenue, reflecting greater seasonality in that business and a large district sale in the prior-year period, the company said. For the fiscal year ending in May, Scholastic expects to earn $1.70 to $1.80 a share, including severance expenses of 15 cents a share. Analysts had been expecting earnings of $2.24 a share. Sales for the year should be $2.3 billion, roughly matching estimates. The stock closed at $29.42 Wednesday.